Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

•For its fiscal first quarter 2020 ended in March, Moët Hennessy saw wine and spirits revenue decline by 14% on an organic basis to €1.2 billion ($1.3b), held back by the difficult conditions due to Covid-19. The company reports that positive currency effects and price increases somewhat offset declines for its wine and spirits brands during the period. Moët Hennessy also notes that despite the challenges facing the wine and spirits world, the U.S. market is demonstrating “good resilience” with distributors continuing to place orders. In China, the company’s Q1 was slowed down by a decrease in demand for Hennessy due to the timing of Chinese New Year and the Covid-19 pandemic.

•Pernod Ricard has launched the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, a new extension of the single malt Scotch brand that’s finished in rum barrels. The 40% abv whisky is a non-age-statement expression whose taste profile is sweet and tropical-fruit forward. The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is now available across the U.S. at a suggested price of $35 a 750-ml. Last year, The Glenlivet reached 1.3 million cases globally and had a retail value of $575 million, according to Impact Databank.

•Campari Group has entered into exclusive negotiations with French company Sarl Ficoma to purchase an 80% stake in Champagne Lallier, with the intent of eventually taking full ownership. The transaction would include the Lallier brand as well as real estate, vineyards, and production facilities, most of which are located in the Grand Cru village of Aÿ. An acquisition would mark Campari’s first entry into Champagne, and enable it to further establish itself in the French market. Campari Group saw sales increase 5.9% to $1.9 billion last year, bolstered by Aperol, Espolòn Tequila, and Wild Turkey, among other brands.

•The U.S.-based heirs of the former Cuban spirits company Conac Cueto have sued Pernod Ricard under the Libertad Act, alleging that Pernod owes them damages because its joint venture with the Cuban government uses the former Conac Cueto property to produce Havana Club rum. The Libertad Act is a 1996 law that includes a provision allowing non-U.S. companies to be sued in the United States for their dealings in Cuba. Historically, the U.S. government has suspended the right to sue under the Libertad Act, but it began allowing such suits in April 2019. Pernod has filed to dismiss the lawsuit, stating that the U.S. federal court lacks jurisdiction over the French company, that the company was improperly served under French law, and that the plaintiff “fails to allege an injury, or even the exacerbation of an injury, that is fairly traceable to PRSA.” In a statement to SND, the company added, “We are taking appropriate steps to address and defeat this meritless claim.”

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